'Bad' white fat can be turned into brown fat furnace

'Discovery opens door to new medicine' say Italian scientists

'Bad' white fat can be turned into brown fat furnace

ß ßßRome, February 22 - An Italian group of scientists have for the first time transformed human white-fat tissue - the fat people accumulate on bellies and fight to get rid of - into a brown-fat tissue that burns off the white variety,ßand has been published in the magazine BBA-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. Brown fat - more formally known as brown adipose tissue - acts as a furnace for mammal bodies, using white fat as fuel to produce heat when the body gets cold. Years of research have demonstrated that the transformation from white to brown fat can occur in animal tissue, but a research team led by Saverio Cinti at the University of Ancona directly observed the transformation for the first time in humans - and demonstrated that the process can be directly induced. Researchers saw the switch from white to brown adipose tissue in patients with a rare, benign tumor called pheochromocytoma, which affects the adrenal gland. The discovery opens a path of research into substances that could directly stimulate identity change in fat. "We have demonstrated that what has been observed in mice happens also in humans and that it is possible to induce the transformation," said Cinti. Cinti added that the discovery opens the path to research new molecules that could have pharmaceutical applications.

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